Surveillance risks in IoT applied to smart cities

Neroni Rezende, Isadora (2023) Surveillance risks in IoT applied to smart cities, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Law, science and technology, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10650.
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Nowadays, cities deal with unprecedented pollution and overpopulation problems, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are supporting them in facing these issues and becoming increasingly smart. IoT sensors embedded in public infrastructure can provide granular data on the urban environment, and help public authorities to make their cities more sustainable and efficient. Nonetheless, this pervasive data collection also raises high surveillance risks, jeopardizing privacy and data protection rights. Against this backdrop, this thesis addresses how IoT surveillance technologies can be implemented in a legally compliant and ethically acceptable fashion in smart cities. An interdisciplinary approach is embraced to investigate this question, combining doctrinal legal research (on privacy, data protection, criminal procedure) with insights from philosophy, governance, and urban studies. The fundamental normative argument of this work is that surveillance constitutes a necessary feature of modern information societies. Nonetheless, as the complexity of surveillance phenomena increases, there emerges a need to develop more fine-attuned proportionality assessments to ensure a legitimate implementation of monitoring technologies. This research tackles this gap from different perspectives, analyzing the EU data protection legislation and the United States and European case law on privacy expectations and surveillance. Specifically, a coherent multi-factor test assessing privacy expectations in public IoT environments and a surveillance taxonomy are proposed to inform proportionality assessments of surveillance initiatives in smart cities. These insights are also applied to four use cases: facial recognition technologies, drones, environmental policing, and smart nudging. Lastly, the investigation examines competing data governance models in the digital domain and the smart city, reviewing the EU upcoming data governance framework. It is argued that, despite the stated policy goals, the balance of interests may often favor corporate strategies in data sharing, to the detriment of common good uses of data in the urban context.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Neroni Rezende, Isadora
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
surveillance, smart cities, privacy, data protection, IoT, proportionality
Data di discussione
28 Marzo 2023

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